Clear, Concise, Common Language

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Jessica Bruce

Over the last few months working at Thinking Big, I have encountered small, yet important issues which have taught me lessons on the value of challenging familiarity and thinking, well, BIGGER. If it wasn’t for the small problems I encounter on a daily basis, I would not be able to be as creative and inspired in my work.

The Web Renewal Initiative at Veterans Affairs Canada is a huge project which will merge all Government of Canada Websites into one centralized platform. As the writer for the project, I was given the task of trying to figure out how to make content on the current website more readable for all audiences.


Business process redesign is the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance such as cost, quality, service, and speed.

- Albert Einstein


As a communications writer, I always try to come back to what I like to call the ‘Three C’s of Communication’. When weeding through the mass amount of content, I had to continuously ask myself, is the content CLEAR, CONCISE, and does it use COMMON language. I know this concept seems simple, but it is an important approach to take when trying to make your information valuable to users. By using my own personal method (3C’s) as well as by following the Government of Canada’s Web Content Style Guide I was able to tidy up valuable information without losing its significance.

People ultimately just want to know how it will impact them.

When it comes to the Web Renewal Initiative, not only will the website look different, but those using it will also experience some changes. So, a problem we were left to solve was how we would approach informing those impacted both internally and externally in the department. In order to nip any concerns in the bud, we decided the best approach would be to have information session which focused specifically on the way each stakeholder would be affected. Individual sessions were created which would target web officers, management and general employees, pinpointing the precise ways they will experience the move to the new website. In order to do this effectively it is important to realize that people ultimately just want to know how it will impact them while also offering a helping hand throughout the process.

When it comes to communications, it is important to realize that it is not about making it sound impressive, it is about making ideas clear so that your message does not get lost in a web of words.


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